“But I don’t want to be a shaman!! Why should I learn how to do a shamanic journey?”
As a shamanic practitioner I often invite folks to learn how to conduct their own shamanic journeys. The shamanic journey is every human’s birthright; we are built to use this skill. But I often have to point out that, even though every human is capable of the shamanic journey, not every human is called to do shamanic work. Whew!! Even if you aren’t eager to pick up your rattle to bring medicine for others, you can still gain so much from your shamanic journeys. Consider these:
1. Discover possibilities for a powerful, fulfilling life.
One of the challenges with living our human lives is that we have a limited view of what lies ahead (and what lies in the past) in our lives and in the world. Our perspectives, bound as they are by our conditioning, our upbringing, our culture and world events, are necessarily limited. We can only perceive what we are able to gather information about. In the shamanic journey we are able to transcend the ordinary, to bring our consciousness and awareness to a higher, wider awareness.
We enter a shamanic journey with a focus; we call that focus our “question.” So a good focus, phrased as a journey question, might be:
- What are three unseen possibilities in my career? The subject of the question could also be: my relationship, my project, my novel, etc.
- What don’t I know about my current situation that will help me thrive in it? This question should help reveal what you are missing, or perhaps, willfully ignoring.
- What will my life look like if I pursue this possibility?
- This is always a good question to assess the outcome of various possibilities.
- You might ask to see the outcome if you make a specific choice…within the next 3 months…within a year…within the next five years.
Because we are able to access wisdom from a universal perspective in a journey, we can gather otherwise inaccessible information to envision and make choices.
2. Overcome your obstacles.
It follows that, if we can’t see all our possibilities, we might not have a sharp view of the obstacles in the way of our goals and dreams. A very useful journey focus is:
- Show me what’s in the way of my achieving my specific (named) goal or dream. Or,
- Show me what’s in the way of my achieving my life’s dream.
Then we can ask:
- Show me the first thing I must to do eliminate or overcome that obstacle.
Imagine how great it would be to have a list of what you don’t know you must do to be effective at realizing the life you want to live.
3. Reduce your stress.
The shamanic journey is an experience of the mind (and the soul), but our bodies are along for the ride too. As we learn to undertake the shamanic journey, we are disciplining our brains to enter the Theta brainwave state, the meditative state. The truth is that we enter the Theta brain wave state twice a day: when we are drifting into sleep and when we are rising into wakefulness. Through disciplines like meditation, biofeedback and the shamanic journey, we can create a sustained Theta brainwave.
In the Theta brainwave state, our body settles into true relaxation. This allows our bodies and the systems that run them a chance to rest, and in that rest, to heal. Spending time in the shamanic journey state or in meditation has been shown to assist the body’s immune system to revitalize, a benefit we increasingly need as the Winter approaches.
4. Boost your creativity.
Something that meditators and biofeedback practitioners know is that the Theta brainwave state encourages the deepest wells of creativity in us to open and flow. As a shamanic journeyer you can use that biological advantage along with your relationships with Helping Spirits to expand the depths and limits of your creativity. From this deep well you can explore deeper and newer ways to express yourself through art, music, poetry or drama. You can also bring that creativity to more practical matters, like how best to create communications, events or products that will appeal to your audiences. (The topics of this blog post, for example, arose from a shamanic journey.) The Helping Spirits say that creativity is “bringing something into being that hasn’t existed before.” From that perspective, the shamanic journey provides a way of endless creativity.
5. Hang out with your best friends.
As we undertake a shamanic journey we always look for the aid of our spiritual companions, our Helping Spirits. These spiritual beings are our eternal, constant companions. They help us to explore the universal and eternal perspectives in our journeys and our lives. They hold the maps to the spiritual reality, unerringly pointing us to where and what we need to know. They also have a clear eye to our ordinary reality, the one in which we live day to day, and so are infinitely useful resources to us in deciding how to live. As you spend more and more time with them in the shamanic journey, you’ll find that they become your most intimate, most reliable friends and colleagues, always at your side, always available for a conversation the moment you enter your shamanic journey.
These are just five possibilities of what you’ll harvest from your shamanic journey. Pick up your rattle and explore what awaits you.
Want to learn the shamanic journey? Sign up for my upcoming, online class, Everyday Shamanism for Beginners (and Pros).